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This is our miracle cat. He appeared in our yard in 2001, with an injured leg. Up until my mother's death in 2013, he was her constant companion. He has been in every house on our block, visiting and napping. We guess his age to be about 15-16 years, given the estimate the vet made when we took him in. He is also the nosiest cat ever. On Oct. 6 of this year, he went out and didn't come home. After more than two months, a friend sent me a link to a local lost cats page. It was Blackadder! The gentleman who posted the photo had rescued him from an empty apartment by prying open a window. We figure he had gone in when the landlord was checking the place out, but hadn't been able to get out. He was there for two months, living on (we assume) whatever he could catch. Other than a weight loss, the vet could find no ill effects from his adventure. My family and I are so thankful to the man who made it his business to get Blackadder out, and to the lost cats group who make it possible for owners to find their kitties again. As I write this on Christmas Eve, Blackadder and his four furry family members are all at home, sleeping peacefully. Blackadder is our Christmas miracle.

Sydney,, NS, Canada

First time pet owner find joy in adopting a 6 year old chihuahua mix.

One of my colleague asked me if I would consider adopting a 6 year old chihuahua mix he found wondering on street. Since he already has a chihuahua at home, he couldn't take her so he took her to the shelter in hope that someone would come for her. He described her as a companion dog with misty eyes. I told him I will think about it since I have never owned a dog before, my family don't want a dog in the house, and I don't know I can commit to giving the dog the attention he/she needs.

Two weeks went by and my colleague asked me again. Still I wasn't sure. He said the shelter would put her to sleep that night if she is not adopted so he plans to take her to a no-kill shelter and if I like, I can stop by. On the way to his place, I stopped by the store and grabbed a dog bed, a sweater, and dog food as instructed by my colleague. I guess I already made up my mind to give this an honest shot. I did not fall in love with her at first sight when I first met her. All I noticed was that she's well behaved, house broken, and she doesn't barked when I step into the house.

Two years later and several rough patches for both dog and owner, she is now the most loved and spoiled one in our family. There is not a day that goes by that I don't consider ourselves lucky to have her (now name Ein) in our life. Ein is the center of all our attentions. I felt God made her for our family. She's very affectionate, well behaved, and adores everyone in the house. Having never owned a pet before, I was informed by many people who met Ein that her temperament is unusual for a small dog. We describe her as a cat stuck in a dog's body. My niece calls her a Cog (cat-or-dog).

Orange, CA

paralyzed kitten

My daughter Jaleesa was in her last few months of vet studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She was doing a externship at a vet clinic in southern Wisconsin when she came upon a paralyzed kitten. Jaleesa had just gotten married in June and in the vows she wrote to her soon to be husband was a line that made the whole church roar with laughter. She had stated that she could not promise she wouldn't bring home any more pets. Well when Jaleesa first saw Rocky (he is now named), she first thought of her brother, who had adopted 2 kittens upon his return from Afghanistan. She came home one weekend after her wedding and we all thought, "Oh boy, what has she gotten herself into". Rocky had been bitten by a feral male cat on his spine next to his tail. He was mostly paralyzed on his back legs. When we saw him try to walk we all thought there was no way that her brother would have the time to give him all the attention he needed. So when she went back home that Monday she told her husband, C.J. that if she brought him back to the clinic he would be euthanized and she wouldn't let that happen. This is where her vows became reality for C.J. We all warned him that she meant what she said and he found out quick. Rocky also cannot relieve himself and never will. So you can imagine how much care he needs on a daily basis. I am so proud of her for all of her accomplishments and also for taking on Rocky. He walks like he forgets he has to lift each back leg to get anywhere. Rocky has found his furr ever home with his brother Jack (dog) and sisters, Bailey (dog) and Mara (kitty) which she adopted from the island of St. Kitts, where she did her graduate studies and he enjoys each day. Jaleesa will graduate from Madison in Janruary and I cant wait to see what the rest of her future brings her.

Cindy Spencer
Kingsford, MI

Ruby's last chance

My husband and I had just taken in a small kitten and had gone to PetSmart to pick up some necessities for him. They were having an adopt-a-thon just after Thanksgiving. It was a habit of mine to go have a look at adoptable kitties with a firm "we don't need another cat" ringing fresh in my ears from my hubby.

That was when I saw her... Ruby, spayed, declawed, 2 years old. She was the only adult cat in a sea of kittens and looked disheartened, curled up in her cage, in her bed. Needless to say, she went home with us that day. When I said I wanted to adopt her, there were cheers, hugs, and thank yous from the staff because the adopt-a-thon was her "last chance."

It took her time to warm up to us, but, for five years her quirky little "na-ow" meow and bossy personality made her the perfect "Big Sister" for our kitten and the others that would come into our home. Not to mention how she liked to keep her humans in line!

But January of 2014 she started losing weight and developed lumps in her throat. It was while the vet was trying non-operative options that I found out she was MUCH older than the 7 years I thought she was. He said she was at LEAST 15 years old, so at her age he did not recommend intensive operations it would take to find out what was causing the lumps. So, after three more attempts to get her to respond to medication, only to have her relapse... I didn't want her to suffer anymore. I held her paw and held her in my arms for nearly an hour before I could bring myself to let my little Rue-bear to go to the rainbow bridge. And I still miss her more than anything. But I know I did everything I could to make her last years alive comfortable and full of love. RIP Ruby, my little boo-bins, keep all the others waiting at the bridge in line for me!

Lehigh Acres, FL

Rusty Jones

My baby Rusty at only 9 months old had three homes and three different names.

I adopted Rusty from South Carolina in 2011. I had lost my boy Buddy to cancer at the young age of 61/2 and after several surgeries and cancer treatments my heart was broke that I could not save him.

I had no intentions of adopting another dog after the heartache of losing Bud Bud to cancer until Rusty came along and I knew if he had been returned to the shelter three times no one would adopt him.

He is a bit of a hell raiser but I love him just the same. Rusty has a forever home and he is happy and healthy and is here to stay. Patience and understanding was all he needed to be the dog he is today.

I love him and always will.

North Wales, PA

Sophia Petrillo rescues the rescuer

She came to our door the first time very young, and frightened. I just knew in my heart that someone had set her out....abandoned an innocent, sweet baby!! When I tried to get her to come to me, she meowed so sadly, but darted off and was gone. The next time I saw her she was about 3 months old, sitting at the french double doors, looking through the glass like she remembered me. I started setting food out for her, and fresh water. Within a week she was sitting on my lap outside, letting me love her, and cuddle her. She even started answering to her name! Within a month I had convinced John that we should help her. She looks like maine coon mix, and all that long, thick hair was getting matted and filthy! We started preparing for her to come inside with the family and join the dog and another cat. She got along very well with the dog, when I took her out to potty, so that wasn't an issue. After a leukemia test that came back negative, and a quick grooming of scissors and a cat comb, she walked through the door on her own and captured everyone's hearts. Miss Sophia Petrillo is the light of my heart. With depression, things can be so good but seem so bad. Honestly....since she came inside.....things seem rather good all the time. Please....take a chance....take a moment....help a tender heart. Rescue...and BE rescued. <3

Bon Aqua, TN

The cat who stole my heart

I went to the shelter looking for a young kitten, because I wanted a cat I could train to travel around with me to help with my anxiety disorder. While I was looking at kittens, this cat whose tag said she was 18 months old kept reaching out and grabbing my hair. I finally ended up taking her, because she chose me! I brought her home and noticed she was sneezing. By the next day, her eyes were running, so I took her to one of the vets on the free first exam list. That vet gave me eye ointment and an antibiotic for her, and told me to use pill pockets. After two times she figured out there was a pill in that treat and was not having that! The vet had said to dissolve the capsule contents in water and squirt it in her mouth, but didn't show me how to do it. So when I did, she aspirated the contents: she was choking and couldn't breathe! I was so scared!!! I gave her a tiny Heimlich maneuver repeatedly, until she finally coughed up the liquid she had inhaled. Next day I took her to another vet, who'd been recommended by a friend, and they gave me a liquid antibiotic with a meat flavor. They told me that she's actually about 8 months old, but won't grow much larger. They also found she has a heart murmur. I'm going to keep this sweet girl anyway, because she's so special! She's so funny - follows me around the house talking continuously, gives me little kisses and likes to get under the blankets with me to sleep. I know we were meant to be together, although she had to tell me that - I didn't get that at first!

RĂ¡elin Hansen
Asheville, NC

Facebook Rescue

We already had rescued 3 cats - a muted tortie (Lily) , a tuxedo Maine Coon (Chatner) and a tuxedo British shorthair (Angus). But when someone posted on a local facebook yard sale "Black Kitten must be gone tonight" I couldn't help but respond. It was late October and I worried that it would fall into the wrong hands....

I drove several miles that night to pick up the kitten. He was thrust at me by his owner who said, "he's a good boy, we're just moving" Her son handed me a plastic bowl but no toys. The kitten nuzzled my chin and as his fleas jumped off onto me, I knew it was meant to be. We arrived home, my husband, who was skeptical about the entire incident, immediately fell in love. We cuddled him, but had to bathe him quickly because he was covered in fleas and ear mites. My husband had never seen red water from a flea infestation, and was appalled. We dried him with the hair dryer (we live in New England and it was cold) and gave him some wet food - he ate as if he were starving. No need to introduce him to the feline family - he made himself right at home and everyone introduced themselves. Several bathings later, he was flea-free. And....it seemed he loved water as he often showered with me.

We named him Salem, but my husband felt like he took over the household so it was soon changed to Major Salem. We learned he was part Bombay, which explained his friendly disposition, affection, incredibly long tail, legs, and OHHHHH those copper eyes. He soon hooked up with Lily, who nurtured and raised him just as she had Angus. He weighed about 1.5 pounds when we brought him home. Within a month he was neutered and weighed 6 pounds. 3 months into our adventure is weighs about 8 pounds and is 35 inches stretched from hind foot to forefoot. He is a big, Bombay boy and is so loving and affectionate. This rescue was definitely meant to be!

Debbie Linde
Rollinsford, NH

The luckiest cat in the world

This is the story of the very best feline friend/family member in the world. We loved her for 17 years and we miss her every day. I wrote this last year and ran across it today, I felt compelled to share.

My name is Reeses and I found my people, or rather, they found me in their driveway late one night. I was in a trash bag that was thrown out of a car. I was only a day or two old but I yowled as loud as I could until they heard me. They took me inside and warmed me up and gave me some milk with an eye dropper and then a baby bottle every couple of hours.

My people me with them everywhere and I got to meet lots of neat people. On our last trip something happened to my dad, and my mom had to take him to the hospital. While they were gone some friends took the dog for a walk and while they were busy with him I snuck out to see if I could find mom or dad. I was very scared so I hid really good. Even though lots of friends looked, no one found me.

I hoped and prayed for my people, I was sad and cold and hungry. One day when some people started calling my name again I finally got brave enough to poke my head out. They took me in where it was warm and soon my mom came. What a glorious day that was! She cried and hugged me so close. Before I knew it, there was my dad and I was home!

Now I am eating all of the food I want and have fresh water to drink and someone around to always hug me and scratch me in all the right places. Thanks to all our great friends who helped look for me, pray for me, and were as thrilled as I was at coming home.

Denver, CO

Surrendered because of a baby but now she is the baby!!!

In 2013, we already had 2 rescues -- Peyton and Bailey -- but both boys had become Mama's boys while my husband was on his last tour in Afghanistan and in the Wounded Warrior project. Our groomer had recently rescued a puppy and now my husband had 'puppy fever'. We called the rescue that our kennel supports but all the puppies she had were already promised to another rescue. We decided to ride over to the Greenville Humane Society just to look as that is where our Peyton had come from as a puppy. We walked around looking at the puppies but didn't quite feel that 'pull' you feel when you know that's YOUR dog. We were walking out when a voice in my head said "Go down the hall where the older dogs are". I pulled my husband over towards the door and said we should look. We walked down the row looking at all the dogs who were barking and leaping at us but then I came to a pile of black fur lying with her back to the gate. Her name was Porsche and she was 9 months old but because of her size was with the older dogs. I spoke to her and she lifted her head with an 'I don't know why I'm here' look and turned away. I almost walked away from her but one of the volunteers spoke up and said she was about to take Porsche out for a run in the courtyard, did we want to come along? My husband and I were amazed at the beautiful dog that stood up when the volunteer opened her cage. We saw her running around the court yard with such joy that we knew she was ours. The girls at the desk were excited we were adopting Porsche and told us she was surrendered because her owners were having a baby. We named her Bella and she is now the baby of our family -- torturing her brothers (who both love her) and demanding to be the center of attention.

Melissa Eplee
Simpsonville, SC
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